Welcome to Murder by the Book's blog about what we've read recently. You can find our website at www.mbtb.com.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Mañana by William Hjorstberg

Open Road Media, 242 pages, $13.99 (release date - 5/12/15)

William Hjorstberg’s prose crashes through the pages with deep, dark slashes. “Falling Angel,” a book with an MBTB star, proved Hjorstberg’s ability to twist and turn through a story. “Mañana” is as black as noir.

Set in Mexico in 1967, Hjorstberg depicts two gringos, Tod and Linda, who are surfing and toking their way through paradise. When Tod wakes up one sunny morning next to a dead hooker, splashed with her blood, he is disoriented and quite alone. Where are his wife and the lowlifes they met? They gave him heroin, and that’s the last he remembers. All of Linda’s stuff is gone. And all their money.

Did the lowlifes kidnap Linda? How will he explain the dead body? Safer to run and try to find Linda’s trail, Tod decides. Ingeniously, throughout the next few days, he manages to scrape up enough to buy food and gas. He begins to slowly track his former buddies and his wife.

Nick, Doc and Shank are ex-cons and always had a trick planned. While Tod was never an all-American boy, he had never anticipated a life of crime, but that is where he is headed as he searches for the men and Linda.

Hjorstberg has style. It’s not just the fast-paced story, it’s also how it is told. His writing ranges from poetic:

“I’d searched for the heart and soul of midnight all my life, a quest as ephemeral as the brief trajectory of the discarded ember. I never found what I was looking for on my nocturnal pilgrimages, always the outsider, yearning to be hip.”

to wry:

“Tequila crashed inside my skull like a Lower Slobovian demolition derby.”

Tod’s quest is our quest. Did he unwittingly kill the prostitute? Is Linda dead? What is he willing to do to exact revenge? 

“Mañana” is muy macho.

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